A thank you to everyone

I want to express a quick, but heartfelt thank you to everyone who works on and contributes to this blog.

It makes my day to open everything up and find nicely written posts just waiting to be tagged and published. No edits, no proofing, no begging for a submission, they’re where I need them, when I need them.

I can’t express my peace of mind for knowing that all the technicalities are being managed smoothly without my needing to worry. Running a website is not easy, but my job has been halved with all the help on this aspect.

Though they’ll never appear in print, everyone who has encouraged me to keep going and given advice has a huge role here. You know who you are, and I most certainly do.

Above all, a thank you to everyone who is mentioned in the stories here –  for being people who add light to the world, and for being people who appreciate the good in their lives and cannot help but share it. I cannot wait to hear more from you.

You all have my respect and appreciation, and I hope your light only shines brighter.

Speaking from the heart

Note from Lucky: My apologies for how few posts have gone up recently, owing to technical difficulties such as having only 24 hours in a day, among other things. We hope to stop having to make these apologies soon, by actually posting at least twice a week.

One of, in my opinion, the most inspiring type of speeches are the ones with personal stories. The person sharing their story serves as a living mashal of the idea they teach. And the more deeply personal and ‘real’ the story is, the more emotion and life the speaker conveys, the better the audience can absorb it.

What I realized tonight is that these stories aren’t always easy to tell. What it means for most speakers is reaching into your deepest, often most personal memories, evoking strong emotions, and sharing those private thoughts in a clear, coherent manner. That gift they give over is what makes the speech so powerful, but it’s not an easy thing to do. Try to imagine doing it yourself for a moment…

And now you know why speakers so appreciate our thanks and appreciation. The more you show it, the more they can keep on giving, knowing it was worth the effort.

The brightest light in the darkest place

http://unitedwithisrael.org/the-holocaust-picture-that-offended-facebook/

To me, the point is not that Facebook flagged the photo, or why, or people’s reactions. To me, the biggest deal is not even the photo itself. Thank you Esther, for bringing this photo to my attention, and thank you Miriam, for adding light to a dark world. To me, the point is in Miriam’s own words, quoted by her father, who is quoted at the above link. For the remainder of the article, see their website.

As I searched for an applicable quote to close off this posting in honour of Yom HaShoah, I realized that a very appropriate quote would be the following excerpt from my daughter Miriam’s diary of her recent trip to the death camps of Poland:

“Today was kind of a gap day… The fill in day… And yet, it was one of the saddest days of my trip to Poland…

“Today, we visited a mass grave. Yes, on this program, we’ve been to many and I never cried at any of them. Not as much as I cried here. You see, this mass grave is different… This mass grave holds 700 children. Yes, you heard me… Children.

“Alone, frightened and clinging to whatever family they had with them, if they even had any left to cling to… Nazis shot them… The children… And for what? Because they couldn’t produce… They were useless to the Reich and so, they were shot… Murdered…

“These sweet children… Gone. No longer can we hear their sweet laughter or small feet dancing. No longer can we see the smiles on their faces or the innocent look in their beautiful eyes… Children that didn’t have the chance to live; to become and live their dreams. Stolen from us by the worst animal of all…

“I sat motionless at that mass grave. What else was I able to do? I was barely able to hold my head up… It hurt me more than anything. I don’t think there was one person on our program that didn’t shed a tear when we stood there listening to our rabbi talk about his family and how these children must have felt in their last moments…

“Then he did something I will remember forever.

“He said to us, “These children never got a chance to see the holy land or let alone be buried there. We should give them that chance…” He then proceeded to pick up a box full of dirt. “This,” he said, “is from my backyard. This is soil from Israel. If they can’t be buried in Israel, then we will bring Israel to them. Their light will forever live inside us. Whoever wants, can come take a hand full of soil and sprinkle it over the grave.”

“We all stood around him, frozen. We literally were frozen in place and suddenly I saw a hand reach out and take a handful of dirt and when the hand touched the soft soil, I realized that the hand was mine.

“I looked at the Rabbi and just for a moment, our eyes met. I guess it was a kind of comfort for me… I walked over to the grave and soon others did the same. I looked over that blue painted fence and in my mind, as I held that soil for just a moment longer, the shabbat blessing that a father and mother gives their child came to my mind. Over and over it ran through my head as I watched the wind scatter the soil across the grave.

“Tears just fell freely and all I was able to do was sit there as tears just kept falling. I was frozen at the fact that they were all gone… For no reason other than hatred… These beautiful children are the light in the darkness and their light will forever live on through me and through every breath I take. These children play at the foot of G-d’s Kiseh Hakavod [throne] now.

“Take care of them for me, please… They are with You now.”

– Miriam Ciss, March 27, 2015, Poland

Thank you for sharing these words with us. Though deeply personal, they have something to teach the entire world. Thank you for teaching us a lesson from history, so that we never repeat it. May this bring merit to the children’s memories, all 700 and 1 of them.

Twins who share more than a face

Earlier this week at school the entire student body (everyone who was there that day, that is) sat in the auditorium for a shiur. The speaker handed a bunch of papers to one of the brave girls sitting in the front row, indicating that she should pass them out. As she turned to do so, not asking for help in any way, her twin sister jumped up as if she, too had been asked, and they efficiently shared the job.

While I was watching this, I saw one girl who was sitting in an awkward position and couldn’t get up. She was trying to reach the handout someone passed her, but to no avail. What did her sister (come to think of it, they are also twins, as well as good friends of mine) do? Despite being farther away, her sister saw her predicament, immediately stood up, and passed the paper the extra three inches.

We have so much to learn from these girls. Not that they helped– not even that they didn’t ask for help. Helping without asking can cause more trouble then it solves sometimes. 🙂

They each knew the other’s needs so well that asking was unnecessary. If only we could all reach such a level.